Archive for the ‘ Vegetarianism / Food ’ Category

We Love Soya!

Just a little bit of love for Sainbury’s Love Soya products. Have you tried them? Contrary to popular belief, they taste nothing like the cardboard that they’re packaged in. I have just polished off a couple of sausage sandwiches for my lunch, in fact (The ketchup on my jumper gives it away).IMG_20140821_131705

And it’s not just sausages that are available. Soya mince, meatballs, burgers, quarter pounders, you name it, I reckon you’ll find it in Sainsbury’s freezers. I think we became vegetarian at the point when Love Soya was re-branded, because I don’t remember seeing it much before (but I suppose I wouldn’t have been looking for it). Having these lovely meat substitutes to hand means when someone asks me “Well, what the hell do you eat then??” I can gleefully tell them I eat toad-in-the-hole, lasagne, shepherd’s pie, burger and chips, bolognese and I can even indulge in a hearty cooked breakfast when I fancy. This usually ends the conversation because they expect me to tell them about the lentil stew I have been cooking for four days, or the salad — the only thing I could possibly be allowed to eat. I’m not even a big fan of lentils, so there.

Now, I can be the lazy vegetarian that just chucks things in the oven for a half-hour, but apparently Ben does like my cooking, so I try not to cook the ‘easy’ meals too often. For instance, last night, we had burritos for dinner. It took less than twenty minutes to cook, because I threw some soya mince in a pan with the sauce and it was cooked. Very tasty and very filling. Tonight (or tomorrow!) I will cook something from scratch — a gravy dinner, for Ben, because they’re his favourite. Speaking of which, Sainsbury’s, if you’re listening you need to make a pasty or something with your chicken-style and mushroom pie filling in it. They are literally the best tasting pies we’ve ever eaten as veggies.

So where were we? Yes, lots of options for us. Not only is there Love Soya, there’s Love Veg, too. Another array of tasty treats that we often indulge in, found next to Love Soya in the freezers (and also the chilled vegetarian aisle). 

If you’re thinking of going veggie, or even doing the Meat-Free Monday thing, why not give Love Soya a go? There isn’t one thing that we’ve tried and haven’t liked, and I think that’s really saying something.

 

Are you bored of your nut roast?

I’m not the biggest fan of Sunday dinners. Never have been. I think I was forced to eat beef stew as a young child and since then, I avoided gravy dinners whenever I could. I favoured pizza, pasta, and all things cheesy.

But then I had to turn into a grown-up and moved in with Ben. Ben loves gravy dinners. He obviously wasn’t traumatised as a child and that meant I couldn’t just feed us both on Domino’s pizza.

I learned to cook, and did the roast beef, roast chicken etc. etc. And then we did the veggie thing. Well, we were introduced to the Nut Roast. Very nice. We aren’t lavish with our dinner ingredients — we’re quite happy with Sainsbury’s own brand nut cutlets. There are various ones to try, another nice one is by The Good Life (about which I wrote a little while back).

Then, like most things in my life, I got bored with them.

All hail Pinterest! I spend a lot of time perusing Pinterest and after looking at many vegetarian recipes, I found the Mushroom Wellington recipe. I was interested because Ben and I had recently been to a vegetarian restaurant near our home (The Veggie Red Lion) and I had had their Mushroom Wellington. It was divine.

OK, I thought. I’ll give this a go. It’ll probably taste awful, but I’ll have a go.

I ate it and liked it. Ben ate it and LOVED it. I’ve cooked it twice more since and it is lovely. One thing I would suggest though — use mini portabella mushrooms. They seem to taste better than using large portabellas. I found this purely by accident. I did my shopping online at Waitrose, ordering portabella mushrooms. They were out of stock and sent me portabellini mushrooms (to my shock at nearly £7.00!!) but they tasted awesome. For a much cheaper alternative, Sainsbury’s sell mini portabellas for £1.00 a box. Just as good.

It’s really easy to make and super tasty (even reheated). So if you’re a bit fed up of nut roasts, give this a go — it’s really worth it.

Mushroom Wellington recipe.

A Plate of Fear

The lentils of horror,
The potato of doom,
The cruel cauliflower,
The horned Quorn,

You stab at your spores,
And the lack of flesh
Eats at you.

Have a…Compassionate Christmas!

Well December is fast approaching and so is Christmas. I have been very good this year and have started my shopping early. I don’t often wander into town any more and I don’t think I like the idea of fighting my way through the shops on Christmas Eve (which is probably what Ben will do). This is will be my first cruelty-free Christmas and it got me a little excited because I wouldn’t be buying the same old stuff.

As we now boycott the large corporations such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble etc that would mean no Dove gift boxes, no Gucci fragrances and absolutely no tacky make-up sets for my relatives. Instead I needed to think outside the box. I wandered around town and started spotting the smaller shops that I’d never seen before. In the shadow of Boots and Debenhams the little quirky shops caught my attention. One shop you may have heard of is Evolution. A small heavily scented haven of loveliness! I wandered in for the first time in awe of all the lovely colours and smells. I came away with an armful of gifts and only spent about £15.00 . I also found some lovely gifts in Lakeland, M&S and FatFace.  I was a little disappointed that a gift I bought from FatFace had a small leather ‘brand label’ on it. I would like to see them use a less unethical way to show off their brand name, but apart from that it’s a nice place to buy clothes etc.

So, are you now wondering how do you have a compassionate Christmas?

  • If you’re buying cosmetics / body care products choose brands that carry the ‘Leaping Bunny’ logo. It means that those products have not been tested on animals and are BUAV approved. It’s so easy to buy cruelty-free now. Go to Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and even your local Co-op for toiletries…. Christmas or not!

 

  • If you’re buying clothes, you could shop at New Look. They got a fairly high rating in my Ethical Consumer Magazine. Failing that buy from the smaller shops or vegan online shops. Synthetic leather appears no different to real leather these days. Don’t forget silk should be a no-no when doing cruelty-free gifts.

 

  • Buy a real tree or rent one out for Christmas! (Guilty secret – I haven’t done either of these as I bought my artificial tree only two years ago….! Whoops. ) When you’ve got your tree, decorate it with handmade decs; if you’ve got kids you could spend a day decorating the tree with paper frills and hang up some good old-fashioned paper-chains.

 

  • Swap ‘traditional turkey’ for a meat-free alternative. I read in a magazine the other day that we eat on average  7,000 calories on Christmas Day!! Why not make a veggie roulade or have a veggie roast from Quorn or Linda McCartney. We often have a Quorn roast for our ‘Sunday Dinner’ (often not on a Sunday!) and it’s never dry, it tastes lovely and cooks in under an hour! Why spend hours in the kitchen stuffing a dead animal (that was probably reared in horrible conditions) with herbs when you could shove all your veggies AND your roast in the oven and spend the day with your family?

 

So there’s a few tips to get you started. I hope you all do at least one of the above to make your Christmas a little kinder this year 🙂

 

P.S Don’t forget to get your companion animals a little something special this year!

 

Reproductive Autonomy by Helen Matthews

Satya Jan 05: Reproductive Autonomy by Helen Matthews.

An interesting article about how feminism isn’t just about human females.

Goodlife’s Nut Cutlets

In an attempt to be a little more vegan during World Vegan Month I decided to put a lot less products that contain dairy in my shopping trolley. As with Goody Good Stuff, I had come across Goodlife on Twitter. They are a company based in Cheshire that makes meat-free and dairy-free products. To me, their products looked absolutely beautiful and I really wanted to try them. I’d also been out with my mum a few days before to a Wetherspoons and had a vegetarian burger (lentil and spinach I think) which was delicious. I then got a hankering for something similar while I was shopping!

Whilst traipsing around a busy Sainsbury’s with my oversized trolley (I’m only 5’2!) and a shortening temper I found my way to the freezer aisles and began searching for the vegetarian options. This is my favourite part of Sainsbury’s and I always leave it to last to cheer me up. I scanned the freezers and found a single row of Goodlife Nut Cutlets. I was pleased that I’d found what I was looking for, but disappointed at the same time because of the lack of products they carried from the range. (Maybe it was because I shop in a smaller store.) But anyway, I grabbed my pack of Nut Cutlets – “Nuttier than a squirrel’s tea party and a damn sight tastier too!” and went on my way.

That evening I thought I would try my new goodies. There’s four in a pack and they cook straight from frozen. I stuck them in baps and served with curly fries and baked beans. I didn’t tell Ben what they were, but being the spoil sport he is, he guessed straightaway. I understood why though. They are very nutty! I didn’t know what to expect as I’d never had a nut cutlet before, but they really hit the spot. I thoroughly enjoyed my “nut burger” and felt they were a great alternative to a meat or even a TVP burger.

It’s also great to see that Goodlife’s website also offers the recipe for their products so that you can try them out for yourself! They have a fab range of products to try – the next one I’ll be trying is their Garden Vegetable Quarter Pounder… Looks yummy!

So all in all, I really liked Goodlife’s Nut Cutlet and would definitely buy them again.

 

Goody Good Stuff Sweets – A Review

I had my first wander around Holland & Barrett’s the other day. As a fairly new vegetarian I had not realised they carried anything other than vitamins and supplements for menopausal women. How wrong I was! Scanning the aisles I found an array of vegetarian and vegan goods I thought only existed in shops on the internet.

As an avid ‘tweeter’ I happened to start following a company called Goody Good Stuff. They seemed a friendly lot and would often do little competitions and giveaways.  They sell sweets suitable for vegetarians and vegans and have no gluten, nuts, GMO, soy or fat in them. I had not been able to find any at my local supermarket so had not had the opportunity to try them. But walking into Holland & Barrett a bright green packet endorsed by a little koala bear caught my eye. There were a few flavours on offer but as I’m tight with my money I decided I would only buy one for now. I picked up a bag of Tropical Fruit along with a few other items which included some vegan mozzarella style ‘cheese’ and made my way home. When I got back I immediately opened my bag of sweeties and was pleasantly surprised.

The wonderful aroma of sweets wafted up my nose as I dived in and picked out a jelly banana. The consistency was perfect; not too squidgy and not too hard. What also amazed me was the taste of these little sweeties! Instead of an artificial aftertaste, they seemed full of flavour and fragrance. Maybe, I thought, it’s because I haven’t had jelly sweets for a while. I was very partial to a bag of Haribo Starmix in my meat-eating days and would regularly pig-out on a bag. But no, I don’t think it was my abstinence from them.

I decided (while I was still eating them) that I would just drop a note on Twitter to Goody Good Stuff to say what a lovely product they have. I did so, and a few minutes later I received a message of thanks and then an offer of some free samples. Well, I can’t say no to something free!! I left my details with them and promptly forgot all about it. But this morning as I was watching the TV, the postman knocked on the door. I wasn’t expecting anything so I sent Ben to see what he wanted. He  came back and handed me a large, heavy packet. I didn’t recognise who it was from so I ripped it open  feeling like it was  Christmas.

Inside was a bag packed full of sweets…It really was Christmas! I dipped my hand in the bag and pulled out eight bags of Goody Good Stuff sweets. Every flavour in the range was included. As it was about 10:00 am I decided it wasn’t too early to eat sweets and opened up Cola Breeze. They are slightly chewier than gelatine-based sweets, but that isn’t hugely detrimental to them. Very cola-flavoured and very tasty. I then went on to try Strawberries & Cream which are very small in size but again, big on flavour. Next was Cheery Cherries; my favourite so far. I adore cherry flavoured sweets and these are no exception. Smaller in size than the ones you used to buy from the corner shop but they smell delicious and taste so. The last flavour I’ve tried is Summer Peach. About the size and consistency of a dried apricot, they remind me of…. Summer! I still have a few more flavours to try but my overall impression of these sweets is excellent.

All in all I’m very impressed with these little sweets and would give them a 9.5/10.